Author: Jose Almirall
Ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) has been described throughout the scientific literature as both a stand-alone separation technique and as a hyphenated technique used to enhance other analytical determinations.
Despite this flexibility and versatility, the applications of IMS have not grown quickly as that of gas chromatography (GC) or liquid chromatography (LC).
This research describes the use of IMS as a lab-based analytical technique able to perform separations on par with GC and LC separations. It was motivated by the necessity to perform rapid and inexpensive analyses on substances commonly encountered by law enforcement, in particular, analysis of controlled amphetamine type substances and the emerging designer drugs, some of which are very similar in structure.
Experiments were carried out utilizing ion mobility spectrometry and other analytical techniques throughout this research project.
The results from this research suggest that chiral separation by an achiral modifier in the gas phase and the detection and identification of designer drugs are possible using an electrospray ionization ion mobility mass spectrometer (ESI-IMS-MS) with an optimal solvent system. A total of four peer-reviewed manuscripts were published and more than 20 oral and poster presentations were presented at national and international scientific conferences.